Tuesday October 16, 2018

Koshur language – Carrying forward Kashmiri culture

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By Harshmeet Singh

There aren’t many better examples of India’s diverse culture than its linguistic diversity. The country is home to 780 languages with over 120 of them holding the ‘official’ status. But the other side of the story is that India currently heads the list of UNESCO’s world’s languages in danger. The constitution, in its eighth schedule, lists 22 languages as the official regional languages in the country. This series of articles is an attempt to focus on these 22 languages, their pasts and present, and cherish our linguistic diversity. After discussing about Assamese and Bodo in the previous write-ups, today, we shift our focus towards the Kashmiri language or Koshur.

Popularly known as Koshur, the Kashmiri language has over 5 and a half million speakers in India, with most of them residing in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The language is also spoken by over 1 lakh people in Pakistan, most of whom migrated to the country from the Kashmir valley. Kashmiri is one of the most prominent Dardic languages.

koshur table

In fact, Sir George Abraham Grierson, the Irish civil servant who conducted the Linguistic Survey of India, famously wrote, “Kashmiri is the only one of the Dardic languages that has a literature”. He also said that the Kashmiri language is “an essential preliminary to any inquiry”.

Last year, with an aim to preserve Kashmiri language and culture, the Jammu Kashmir Cultural Confederation was formed after more than 50 small organizations carrying a similar aim came together. Well known poet and the Jnanpith award winner, Prof Rehman Rahi was appointed the chief patron of the confederation while acclaimed writer Ghulam Nabi Khayal came on board as the patron.

Kashmiri was first introduced as a medium of instruction in schools in the 1950s. But it was soon banished owing to an inelegant script. As a result, like most other regional languages in the country, Kashmiri has also witnessed a steep decline in popularity over the past several decades. To arrest the decreasing popularity, the state of J&K made the language a compulsory subject in all the schools of the state till the secondary level in November 2008.

Kashmir’s modern history has been burdened by conflicts. A number of locals in the state of J&K also accuse the central Government of neglecting the state’s indigenous culture. Maybe by helping in preserving Koshur and the Kashmiri culture in the state, the Government would be able to convince them that it wishes nothing but the best for them.

 

To read more in this series –

Bodo Sahitya Sabha – Trying to revive the language

Assamese – a bright spot in Indian regional languages scene

 

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Galapagos, Ecuador Celebrates 40 Years As A World Heritage Site

Popularly known as Enchanted Islands, they are located on the equatorial line crossing the north of Isabela Island.

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Galapagos
Galapagos Islands celebrate 40 years of World Heritage Site status. Flickr

The Ecuadorian Galapagos Islands celebrated 40 years of the declaration of the archipelago as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Ecuador President Lenin Moreno, tweeted on Saturday: “We celebrate one more anniversary of the declaration of Galapagos as the World Heritage Site. Let’s preserve and protect the Enchanted Islands, Ecuador’s legacy to the future of humanity.”

 

galapagos
Galapagos has flora and faun only unique to it. Flickr

 

In 1978, this title was awarded to the archipelago for its collection of flora and fauna unique in the world, a large part of whose species are endemic, which led to the islands management by a special regime that safeguards its conservation.

 

The archipelago is located in the Pacific Ocean at 972 km from the Ecuadorian coastline and has tourism as its main source of income with around 200,000 visitors a year.

galapagos
Galapagos has tourism as its main source of income with around 200,000 visitors a year. Flickr

The islands are home to species including sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, whales, coral reefs, frigatebirds, iguanas, lizards, cormorants, albatrosses, sea lions and penguins.

Also Read: 10 Indian Sites That Got UNESCO World Heritage Tag

Popularly known as Enchanted Islands, they are located on the equatorial line crossing the north of Isabela Island, the site of numerous earthquakes due to the tectonic plates nearby and is the second most active volcanic archipelago on the planet, after Hawaii. (IANS)

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